Michael Bublé made his long-awaited return to the O2 Arena in London this past weekend. I attended the first of his three nights in the city’s most recognisable music venue, and it was quite the experience to behold.
I had previously seen Michael perform at the O2 back in December 2014. Since then, he and his family have encountered major setbacks, and though a night like this once seemed like a far-off destination for the charismatic Canadian, such performances represented a target, a goal, a light at the end of the tunnel. If he and his fans could enjoy such evenings again, it would be the icing on the cake to represent how he and his family had overcome the challenges of the past few years.
And so it was a smiling, humble and excited, but also proud and emotional, Michael that stepped onto the stage in front of a huge crowd in England’s capital city to treat his adoring fans to a memorable concert. With a first-class backing band behind him, he kicked things off with Feeling Good and Haven’t Met You Yet, two of his most famous hits. The swinging songs came to the forefront with My Funny Valentine, I Only Have Eyes For You and Sway, along with Such A Night and Lazy River.
Michael was interacting with the crowd all night, but at one point, he took things a step further by speaking to an audience member’s friend on FaceTime (named Becky), and he sang When You’re Smiling specifically to her! No doubt, she was the toast of her social circle after that, but the show continued to treat everybody else singing and dancing in the O2. Though not before a treat for his baritone saxophone player Jacob Rodriguez, who had a birthday to celebrate, complete with Happy Birthday being sung and a cake for the occasion. It wasn’t just Michael singing; the very talented Jumanne Smith performed an exceptional version of Till Somebody Loves You.
After singing When I Fall In Love, Michael treated the fans to his newest hit Love You Anymore, as well as a tune that pulled at the heart-strings, Forever Now. He noted how he had written the latter purely as a demo, and because it hit home so much, he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to perform it live, making this quite the moment. He also sang Home, before speeding up the pace with Buenos Dias Señorita, Just A Gigolo and Teenage Wedding. Nobody But Me and a spectacular rendition of Cry Me A River closed the main show, but he came back on stage (following an instrumental by the backing band, complete with footage on the main screens of London) to sing Where Or When, Everything and Always On My Mind to officially end the evening.
The stage was huge, being spacious enough to accommodate all of his backing artists as well as showcasing a circular screen that would be elevated and turned depending on the song. A ramp-way led Michael to the centre of the arena to get a closer look at the main auditorium, and the lighting would alternate in colours depending on the mood of a particular tune. Though it was tricky to see from my vantage point, each song came with its own unique display of images on the big screens, and many of the effects looked awesome, showing how the team had gone that extra length to create a stunning backdrop for the show. And, of course, Michael himself was at the top of his game, proving that his extended absence hadn’t caused him to lose a step. The O2 Arena certainly agreed, awarding him a standing ovation when all was said and done.
Michael Bublé is returning to the UK towards the end of the year, and based on this performance, I would definitely recommend that you check him out. It is a remarkable tale of personal redemption and overcoming the odds, and it is as entertaining an evening of live music as you could possibly enjoy.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10 – Classic